HR insights to propel organizations forward in 2019

Closing out a very exciting and productive 2018, I thought it would be a great idea to offer insights from some of Wisconsin’s executives and HR leaders, with the intent to create a list of seven progressive HR “predictions” for 2019.

It was a pleasure to work with each of my contributors over the last few weeks. I hope you enjoy the thoughts below.

Elevated recruitment — Automation and building ‘talent communities’

“Recruitment professionals in 2019 will be embracing technology that automates our day-to-day administrative work. This automation is not a replacement for the human element. Instead, it will free up time for the best use of our resources: building connections.

“Tech tools will handle the sourcing and scheduling while we foster ‘talent communities.’ A talent community is a network where trust builds through shared experiences, information, and time. That could be useful online content or an event where attendees feel comfortable to ask real questions. It is not an e-mail list that gets new job alerts.

“As candidates are more and more overwhelmed by daily noise, companies need to get creative to stand out from the crowd, and work toward developing early relationships. A top candidate should know a company long before an immediate opening. That may mean knowing the recruiter or, even better, knowing the hiring team from a shared experience or event.

“Exceptional hiring goes beyond a job description to who could find their fit and add value to a team beyond a list of bullet points. For example, a mobile developer who isn’t perfect on paper but fits the team perfectly. That ability to live in the nuance is the future of recruitment.”

— Amanda Daering, CEO, newance

Investing in ‘people’ security

“In 2018, United States businesses spent $114 billion on electronic security systems to protect their buildings during nonbusiness hours while their employees are away. But what about the security of a building while employees are at work? Isn’t the security of employees more important than the physical assets of a business? We think so.

“In 2019, the grandiose mahogany receptionist desk with a dedicated employee watching the front door all day will slowly become obsolete for many businesses and industries, and give way to solutions that are more secure, professional, and consistent with brand image.

“The ability to lock down a building during normal business hours, yet still provide visitors with a friendly alternative to the typical front desk receptionist, is the reason we built Virtelo, our touchscreen receptionist, that can be placed in a locked entryway, vestibule, or lobby, and provides extra security to buildings and an even bigger asset — the people inside.”

— Jason Adamany, president, Adesys

The era of consumer-driven experiences in benefits

“Being a part of a progressive, entrepreneurial company — and in the insurance industry, no less — equals challenge and disruption, not only with technology, but with our associates and customers. 2019 will be the year of ‘consumer experience on demand.’ Insurance organizations, departments, and business units that can offer ‘the experience’ will not only survive but also thrive in disrupting times.

“The experience era calls for organizations and employees to look beyond the status quo to understand benefit solutions and become more educated on insurance selections. It’s time for HR to not only ‘offer benefits,’ but to offer solutions and information about how these benefit solutions will provide peace of mind during life disruptions.

“HR and the insurance industry must focus on the value adds, going one step further to assist and calling back or responding in a timely fashion. These may seem small, but they’re massive when it comes to retention and providing interactions and experience consumers can’t get anywhere else.”

— Wendy Bushell, MHRLR, director of human resources, Ansay & Associates



Human resources technologies investment

“During the past two years, venture capital and private equity companies have invested $1.87 billion in HR and workforce-related products, as shown in the HR Technology Disruptions 2018 Report by Deloitte & Josh Bersin. In 2019, the top trends to focus on within HR technologies are virtual and augmented reality and gamification. These technologies put new employees in real-world scenarios, can be extended to other training, and have practical applications for on-boarding and skills development.

“An HR systems survey by Sierra-Cedar found 45 percent of large companies and 51 percent of mid-sized companies are increasing their spending on HR tech in 2019, with 8 percent and 10 percent spending less. So, take one step toward integrating your HR and business systems. Focus on turning your people data into real, business information by leveraging augmented analytics that automates insights using the benefits of AR, VR, and gamification.”

— Shelia Milton, HR executive

Taking bold steps to make health care affordable using data analytics

“Employers will take bold steps to make health care more affordable for their employees and their companies, but not by cutting benefits. Instead, they will use their health care data to identify opportunities to control costs without sacrificing quality or access to care.

“Armed with information about cost and quality differences, employers will create incentives for their employees to use doctors and hospitals that provide great care and cost less! Why pay $4,800 for an MRI when you could get the same service for $600? Or why pay $60,000 for a knee replacement when you could pay $27,500?

“As more employers encourage their employee to use these “high value” providers, health care costs will decrease for employers and their employees. What’s more, doctors and hospitals that deliver good care and cost less will increase their market share. This will fuel healthy competition that drives meaningful system-wide improvement.”

— Cheryl DeMars, CEO, The Alliance

Artificial intelligence and ‘smartization’ ASAP

“2019 is going to be a big year for artificial intelligence (AI). Not only in generalized technological advancement, but also in practical business applications and human resources. AI will drive efficiency and further help lead organizations of all shapes and sizes forward in their journey of digital transformation.

“This year organizations should begin making plans for the ‘smartization’ of their business process and begin conducting analysis as to how AI can fit into the bigger picture. At present, a McKinsey & Company global survey confirms that 47 percent of business leaders have stated that their companies have embedded at least one AI capability in their business processes, and 21 percent say that their organizations have embedded AI in several parts of their business.

“In 2019, employers and human resources will start experiencing — for the first time — a talent gap in AI skills. Lack of developers, AI experts, and linguists who know how to utilize the existing prebuilt AI tools are in short supply. If organizations want to stay ahead of the curve in AI moving into the new year, it is critical that they invest in the talent that can help them drive meaningful results in this new frontier. The best way to go about doing this is to invest in developing AI skills internally. Analyze the current skillset of your IT or technology department, and develop a training program for those best suited to work with these emerging tools now!”

— Nick Myers, creative director, RedFox Creative

The blockchain of everything

Finally, a New Year prediction of my own:

Bitcoin, cyrptocurrency, and blockchain were three of the most Googled terms in the last two months (‘What is bitcoin?’ being the number one most Googled question of 2018). It’s not surprising, as the vast majority or people are curious about the technologies and their impact on the future of our lives.

What skills will I need to acquire? Will I need to learn how to code? Can I receive part of my salary in cyrptocurrency? Should I invest in bitcoin?

Organizations that offer access to learning about blockchain, its possible use cases, and cyrptocurrency investment education, will provide a new level of employee benefit and engagement. As well, companies that partner with innovation labs to microcredential employees and workers will not only build their knowledge bases, they will also demonstrate that they are serious about innovation and growth going into the next decade.

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